Friday, August 14, 2009

Miso Dumpling Soup

Ok, so if you're like I was you're wondering what is miso (Mee-So)? Well apparently according to Wickipedia it's:

Miso (みそ or 味噌?) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kōjikin (麹菌?), the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called Misoshiru (味噌汁?), a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still very widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory, and there is an extremely wide variety of miso available.

or the American Dictionary:
A thick fermented paste made of cooked soybeans, salt, and often rice or barley, and used especially in making soups and sauces.

So, now that you know what it is, it probably doesn't sound all too appetizing. Kinda like Kimshi, although both are pretty good, to me atleast. I stumbled onto Miso soup at our local Wal Mart. And not reading the ingredients carefully, I bought the little package with 4 individual 6oz soup mixes. I went home, and made one up. It was delicious. And Jerrod tasted it and said, are you sure this is vegetarian? I said I thought the fishy taste was the seaweed, Nope Fish. What kind of fish? who knows, all it says was fish. So we dumped it out and threw away the rest. Darn it. But much to my surprise, shopping at the commissary produced a new brand of miso soup with two flavors. Both have no fish, or fishy taste. But both have MSG. So if you're like me and know better but eat it anyway, maybe there's no big deal here. But if you are trying to avoid things that kill your memory cells faster than normal (I hear), you might want to make your own. For this recepi I found some 1 minute Miso soup in a squeeze bottle. But I'm figuring you could go to a health food store and get a good miso. Either way. It's a pretty simple recipe, and pretty tasty. But you have to be creative about making it so you'll like it.

You will need:
  • Some type of Miso paste, powder or instant soup
  • finely chopped onions (any flavor)
  • Water
  • Seaweed
  • Biscuit mix (I like Bisquick) or make from scratch
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • Salt/pepper

Here's what you do:

  1. Mix up about 3 or 4 cups of the Miso soup base (depending on how thick you want the broth. 4 cups makes a creamy broth after the dumplings are added). For mine it called for 1tbs mix per 3/4 cup of water. You may want more or less depending. Mix it up and heat it, then give it a little taste You have pleanty of time to adjust the base before adding the dumplings.
  2. When you have your base to your liking, add onions (and any other finely chopped veggies you want to add. Cabbage may even be good). And then seaweed. Bring to a boil.
  3. While you are heating the base, mix up a batch of dumplings. For Bisquick, I use the drop biscuit mixing directions. About 1 cup of mix per 1/3 cup of water. Add some finely chopped onions and cheese to the mixture. Set aside.
  4. When your soup is boiling, add the dumpling mix by large spoonfuls. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 min.
  5. Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes, you may need to increase the heat to keep it simmering.
  6. Remove from heat and serve.

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